Oh, why don't we just blow up the shuttle on the launching pad?

I mean, it would save time, and the astronauts wouldn’t have to be on board, and if they are bound and determined to “blow it up real good” anyway . . .

Yeah, gotta admit I’m kinda hoping they delay this launch. I served with one of the crewmembers, Steve Lindsey, years ago. Really don’t want to see people die because NASA is ignoring safety issues.

I can’t figure out how “a piece of foam insulation was found to have broken off the shuttle’s external fuel tank” when it hasn’t even taken off yet!

I would rather try to run across I-45 blindfolded than go up in that shuttle. I’m just saying.


If they would have taken that billion dollars and routed it to the Venture Star, instead of cutting its funding, we might have a meaningful space program now instead of … <ahem> sorry, NASA and the STS have annoyed me for many a year, please carry on.

To whatever extent I’m known on this board, I hope I’m known as a great defender of NASA, but come on! The US manned space program personnel, outside of checking in with the US astronauts on the ISS and training the current crew, has had more or less exactly NOTHING to do for the past 3-1/2 years except fix this exact problem, and it isn’t fixed.

If the NASA chief is trying to send a message that the existing Shuttle needs to be scrapped once and for all, to be replaced by the next generation, more power to him, but I hope he’s not willing to sacrifice 7 more astronauts just to make a point.

Space travel is not risk-free. We were so successful in the past that people space travel is safe. It’s anything but.

I’d go up on that thing without even thinking twice about it.

I agree with Airman Doors, but I gotta say…they’ve been less than comforting in their ability to put one of these things up there without freaking me out. I think space travel and study is one of the most important and interesting things we can do, and I’d like to see it garner the widespread attention and support it had back in the day.

(Kalhoun…back *away * from the crack pipe.)

They could blow it up on the launch pad, scatter some Arab debris around and say “Al-Quaeda or Al-Franken did it.” Who’d be any the wiser?

Because it would tie up traffic on I-4 and I-95, there’d be wall to wall news coverage, and quite frankly, when you’ve stood in your backyard and watched one shuttle go up, you’ve seen them all.

They need to privatize space travel. Who drives 20-year-old cars by choice?

Didn’t we hear this another time? “Oh, the o-rings are fine-what could go wrong?”

My mind is not made any eaiser by the fact that the crew consists of two women, a black guy, five adorable kittens, and a brave little orphan . . .

And the two Jews and the cripple?

I wonder if they have replaced the windshield after my ex-husband scratched it putting in the heads-up display?

The orphan’s in a wheelchair; the black guy and one of the kittens are Jewish.

Should a piece of foam whack a hole in a wing, they will effect repairs and retreat to the space station while the shuttle is landed by remote control.

They’re obviously faking foam defects so they can push the launch to the 4th.

God Bless America! We can shoot stuff into the sky! Plus this way it won’t look as funny if they shoot off a ton of fireworks at the same time as the shuttle, to camouflage the possible kaboom.

I think NASA’s attitude is refreshing. Essentially, they’re saying, “Yes, this flight is risky, and we’re going anyway. The astronauts are volunteers, and know all the risks. We’re doing important things, and risk is part of the job.”

That’s much better than simply denying the risk and making wild safety claims that weren’t true.

Sorry folks - you strap yourself to a huge fuel tank and blast off in a vehicle that has flown less than 200 times, and you’re taking a big risk. The astronauts know it.

I hate this new risk-aversion we have towards everything. One of the reasons our progress in space slowed down so much is that we demanded that safety margins be ridiculousy large. Go back and look at how many test pilots were killed during the ‘X’ program that paved the way to Apollo and the shuttle. It’s no coincidence that our knowledge progressed by leaps and bounds back then. We were lean, mean, and expected the pilots to take the risks we offered, rather than spend 10X as much to make a safer vehicle.

Or take the Apollo missions themselves - the risk was MUCH higher than the public knew. All those missions had very narrow margins of safety, and it’s a real surprise that no Apollo crews were lost in flight (Although 3 Apollo 1 astronauts were killed in a fire on the pad). The first orbital flight of Mercury was done on an Atlas rocket that had a tendency to blow up. Of the nine Mercury Atlas firings, two of them blew up. Luckily, they were unmanned, but we flew astronauts on Atlas anyway.

From what I recall and can quickly find in my copy of Crhis Kraft’s book Flight the problems with the thin skinned ICBM Atlas booster were solved with a ‘belly band’.

I thought I heard that after Columbia, they went back and realized that foam had been falling off like a bad case of dandruff with pretty much every shuttle launch - it was only the once that bad luck made it a problem. So haven’t they already had plenty of successful launches with similar or even larger foam holes? I mean, I understand why they’re being extra careful now, but it seems to me this isn’t exactly a signed death sentence.